9

Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky Tarpaper Sky reaffirms Rodney Crowell's position as one of the most literate of contemporary songwriters. At the same time, it exhibits his unusual savvy as a musician and bandleader as he collects a core quintet to skillfully elicit both the intelligence and emotion of his original material.

In its prolonged gestation before and after other projects- Kin (Vanguard, 2012) his collaboration with novelist Mary Karr and his reunion with Emmylou Harris Old Yellow Moon (Nonesuch, 2013)—Crowell's fourteenth album features him and the participating musicians wholly in the moment on tracks such as "The Long Journey Home." The vivid images of his lyrics find accurate reflection in the author's keening vocal delivery not to mention the economical accompaniment that adorns such songs. On "Fever on the Bayou," a singsong quality combined with the Southern genealogy imparts a distinctly country air, but the pithy fiddle avoids novelty in favor of authenticity of the region to which Crowell and company pay homage. And Will Kimbrough's accordion and counterpoint singing sound like nothing so much as a blissful moment of spontaneous inspiration.

Rodney Crowell's ability to relish the abandon of rockin' in the form of "Frankie Please" does nothing to undermine his innate eloquence as captured in the quiet of "God I'm Missing You." Like many of these eleven tracks, this one could stand on its own as a solo acoustic piece, but the details it's afforded here, in the form of equally bright electric guitar and piano, only heighten its emotional resonance. And Crowell's command of the English language extends to an expression of humor, albeit only a slight undercurrent of it, in "Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love;" It's a testament to his emotional balance that such expression of endless optimism comes through even in a subtle recognition of mortality in "Oh What a Beautiful World."

It should come as no surprise, then, that Crowell has an abiding affinity for the blues that allows him to lead the band through the modified shuffle of "Somebody's Shadow." Arrangements such as that of "Grandma Loved That Old Man" mirror his artful inclusion of details that , in the case of this cut, bespeak a tenderness arising from fond remembrance as well as the author's long- term experience as composer, player and producer dating back to the Seventies.

It's also a measure of the wisdom in Rodney Crowell's world view that he can credibly write a song titled "Jesus Talk to Mama" and juxtapose reference to the devil with distinctly gospel harmony singing, not to mention a quick tease of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" guitar. "I Wouldn't Be Me Without You" might sound glib via its title alone, but rendered with a perfect simplicity as it is here (particularly in Crowell's precisely elocuted vocal phrasing), it sounds like one of those songs born full and complete in one thought, then recorded with an identical flow of inspired purpose. The same might be said of >em>Tarpaper Sky as a whole.


Track Listing: The Long Journey Home; Fever On The Bayou; Frankie Please; God I'm Missing You; Famous Last Words of A Fool In Love;Somebody's Shadow; Grandma Loved That Old Man; Jesus Talk To Mama; I Wouldn't Be Me Without You; The Flyboy & The Kid; Oh What A Beautiful World

Personnel: Rodney Crowell: lead vocal, acoustic guitar and electric guitar; Steuart Smith: lead electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, bass, organ, harmonica; harmony vocals; Michael Rhodes: bass; John Hobbs: piano; Eddie Bayers: drums and piano Michael Rojas: piano; Steve Fishell: steel guitar; Deanie Richardson: fiddle; Will Kimbrough: acoustic guitar, accordion, harmony vocals; Dan Knobler - electric guitar; Jerry Roe: drums; Shannon McNally: vocal; John Cowan: harmony vocals; Pat Buchanan: harmony vocals; Cory Chisel: harmony vocals; Mike Ferris: harmony vocals; Perry Coleman: harmony vocals; Chely Wright: harmony vocals; Tanya Hancheroff: harmony vocals; Vicki Hampton:harmony vocals; Robert Bailey: harmony vocals; Vince Gill: harmony vocals; Ronny McCoury: harmony vocals.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: New West Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Close Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Close Enough
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "1954" CD/LP/Track Review 1954
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "New Shoots" CD/LP/Track Review New Shoots
by Mike Oppenheim
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Touch My Beloved's Thought" CD/LP/Track Review Touch My Beloved's Thought
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!